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Feast-ival returns to Downtown Plano
Fifteenth Street will be abuzz with live music and local vendors next weekend when the Downtown Plano Feast-ival returns for the fourth year.
The event, set for Oct. 27, will feature booths operated by local retailers, gourmet food from 15 Collin County restaurants and street-level access to all of Downtown Plano's eateries, storefronts and museums.
Admission to the event is free, though all food and certain activities will require payment, said Rachel Rouse, secretary for the Historic Downtown Plano Association, the group organizing the event.
"Essentially, you could show up and not spend a dime," she said. "You can just enjoy the live music, live activities [and] the entertainment going on at our main stage and not have to purchase anything."
This year's headlining musical performer is Cas Haley, the North Texas singer-songwriter who was the runner-up on the second season of America's Got Talent. He will perform against the backdrop of the DART train passing through Downtown Plano.
The association will donate all proceeds from the event to the Assistance Center of Collin County, Rouse said, and food and retail vendors will also donate 10 percent of their profits to the center.
"We try to keep our headlining performer close to home," she said. "We want it to be someone from the North Texas area, the Dallas area, [places] like that. Our restaurants are from Collin County. The vendors are from the Collin County area. Our beneficiary's in Collin County. So we like to keep that kind of local, home feel."
Originally held in 2009 and 2010 as Taste of Downtown Plano, the event will also feature a kids' area -- complete with carnival games, pumpkin carving and a petting zoo -- and a vintage car show.
For the first time, the festival will also feature the Great Pumpkin Race, in which children can decorate and affix wheels to a pumpkin to pit it against others in a race down 15th Street, an idea borrowed from the annual Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Race in California.
"We saw this idea, and said 'This is so fun. It's really funny. These pumpkins that are decorated are going all over the place, and the kids have a great time,'" Rouse said. "We just kind of wanted to take that adapt it and put a little bit of Downtown Plano into it and have that at our event."
Erica Shea, catering coordinator for Urban Crust, one of the festival's presenting sponsors, said the event is a great way to bring exposure to the local business that inhabit the downtown area.
"Downtown Plano is known right now for the food and the nightlife, but not really for the shops and the businesses," she said. "... Definitely the Feast-ival brings people down there with the food and the entertainment, and they get to see more of the businesses and more options they have right close to home."
Rouse said last year's event drew between 5,000 and 6,000 attendees, nearly quintupling the turnout from the prior year. A turnout exceeding that of last year's is expected next weekend, she said.
"I haven't been here in Plano for very long, but from what I understand [Downtown Plano] used to be quite the sleepy little street," she said. "Now it's kind of seen as almost a renaissance in growth, and we want to share that with people and share that with the Dallas area; let them come and enjoy what we see every day."
The Downtown Plano Feast-ival will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., on 15th Street from I Avenue to K Avenue. For information, visit www.visitdowntownplano.com.
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